by Kevin O’Neill

Like every other industry, there is much jargon in the Material Handling and Logistics industry. Knowing the proper terms when discussing an upcoming project with potential suppliers and project managers is vital to making sure each project is a success. There is nothing worse than using the wrong terminology and then spending more time explaining a project than actually executing it.

The difference between a mezzanine and a work platform is one primary source of confusion in this industry. A mezzanine is a permanent intermediate level in a building that is part of the physical structure; this is not what Steele Solutions creates. An elevated work platform is a piece of equipment that increases the usable space or provides support and convenient access to equipment. Calling the structure a mezzanine can cause costly changes because it is viewed as a part of the building rather than capital equipment and can cause potential problems for customers. Other terms that are similar to “work platform” to describe these steel structures include: equipment platform, work platform, elevated structure.

Knowing if you need a mezzanine or work platform is the first step. After that, you must determine how the structure will be utilized. For industrial and commercial use, there are different types of structures that can be used for distribution and fulfillment centers.

1. Freestanding: Also known as a structural, steel mezzanine and can be used for a wide variety of applications. This structure is considered capital equipment and can be depreciated over a shorter period – providing tax advantages.

2. Building-supported: A blended system can be developed, where a steel structure is supported partly by the building structure and partly by columns – as long as the foundation can support additional loads. Steele Solutions can support this type of structure without calling in a general contractor.

3. Rack Supported: Between existing storage racks, these platforms create usable space as long as the rack system can support additional loads. This structure also allows for a catwalk to be installed.

4. Shelving-supported: These structures are ideal for the storage of small items alongside existing shelving. This type of arrangement is an economical way to make more efficient use of space.

Experts at Steele Solutions can work with you and members of your team to help determine the perfect structure needed for your space and project. We have a lot of experience with projects in warehouses, factories and distributions and fulfillment centers. Our experts can also help you determine the finishes, decking, and accessories – rails, stairs, gates, ladders – that may be necessary for your project. Steele Solutions is a leading designer and manufacturer of steel mezzanines and work platforms, and we look forward to helping you find the perfect solutions for each project we receive.